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ICYMI: Tech In Religion 02

(image credit: CWWally:

“Tech In Religion” is a running series under the Technically Religious umbrella. In these episodes, we look at technology – be it a website, a phone app, or a gadget – that somehow deepens, strengthens, or improves our experience of or connection to our faith (our religious, moral, and/or ethical point of view). This is a tech review lovingly wrapped in a through-line about faith in general and our experience of faith in particular. The goal is to uncover and promote tech you (our audience) might not have heard about; or describe a use for tech you may know, but didn’t think of using in connection with your religious experiences.

In this episode, Leon Adato is joined by Doug Johnson and Stephen Foskett. Listen or read the transcript below:

music (00:01):


Leon Adato (00:32):

Welcome to our podcast, where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate IT, we’re not here to preach or teach you our religion. We’re here to explore ways. We make our career as IT professionals mesh, or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is technically religious

Leon Adato (00:53):

Here on technically religious. We focus on how we work to make our religious lives compliment, or at least not conflict with our career in tech. But what about the way tech enhances our lives as people with a strong connection to our faith, or lack thereof. In our ongoing series tech in religion, we aim to do just that in each episode, we’ll highlight technological innovations that enhance, strengthen, and deepen, our connections to our religious, moral or ethical point of view. I’m Leon Adato and sharing their reason. Thoughtful, humble opinions with me today on the tech that helps our religion, our Doug Johnson, Hey, and also a newcomer to the technically religious, uh, cast is Stephen Foskett great to be here. Great to have you. Okay. So as is our want on technical, what we’ll do is we’re going to start off with shameless self promotion. Go ahead and tell us, uh, a little bit about yourself, whatever you’re working on, that you want to bring to light for the listeners. And of course we want to know your religious point of view. Um, Doug, as the seasoned veteran, that means you’re old.

Doug Johnson (01:57):

All right, here we go. I’m the old guy. Yep. Uh, Doug Johnson, I’m a web. Uh, my day job is I’m a web developer for Southwestern health resources, my side gig, which is going to make me a billion kazillionaire some day, If I live long enough is, uh, I’m the CTO for, uh, an RFID inventory company. So if you are an op, somebody with an optical shop and you really want to do your inventory better, why check out I can be found on all of the various sundries Facebooks, et cetera, as @Dougjohnson. And I’m an evangelical Christian, but not one of those weird ones. You know, we were allowed to dance, but not in the, uh, not, not in the aisles.

Leon Adato (02:40):

There we go. Okay. I didn’t realize there was a delineation between aisle dancing,

Doug Johnson (02:43):

I should show you

Leon Adato (02:45):

Aisle dancing, Evangelical Christians and not,

Doug Johnson (02:48):

I’ll tell you that aisle dancing white evangelical Christians have got better music than a lot of the rest of us, but, but yeah, the, yeah, it’s.

Leon Adato (02:56):

Ok, all right.

Doug Johnson (02:57):

I’ll show someday when we have nothing better to do, I’ll show you, there’s some great video out there.

Leon Adato (03:01):

We should record that. That’ll be educational for everyone or entertaining. We’ll see. All right, Steven, uh, please help bring this a little bit of maturity and, uh, and seriousness to this.

Stephen Foskett (03:13):

Well, I’m glad that you, uh, brought me in to bring you both down to, down to earth as it were. So, yeah, so I’m Steven. Uh, I, uh, my day job is running gestalt IT and tech field day. Um, maybe you didn’t know this, but I am also a writer in the wristwatch community, um, and quite active in the world of collectors there. And, um, I do a podcast on artificial intelligence as well called utilizing AI. Um, as far as religion goes, I was raised as a liberal Christian in the Episcopalians in Connecticut. And, um, have since become even more, um, I dunno, loony left by going to the Unitarian Universalists and becoming essentially a humanist.

Leon Adato (04:04):

Uh, we, we take all kinds here, uh, and it does, it would take all kinds.

Doug Johnson (04:09):

Just this side of Buddhism is cool stuff.

Leon Adato (04:11):


Stephen Foskett (04:12):

I believe in people.

Doug Johnson (04:12):


Leon Adato (04:14):

That’s good. I think be believing in people is not a bad position to take. All right, I will, um, I will close the circle by providing my information, which probably the technical religious folks can repeat on their own, but we’ll do it anyway. I am Leon Adato. I am a head geek. Yes, that is actually my job title, and I took it almost sight unseen when they offered it to me at SolarWinds, which is neither solar nor wind. It is a software vendor that makes monitoring solutions. You can find me on the Twitters, and I say it just that way to horrify Keith Townsend’s daughter. Every time I say it, you can find me there at @LeonAdato. Uh, I also am known to pontificate on things, both technical and religious on my website, which is And I identify as an Orthodox Jew and occasionally my rabbi will admit to knowing me. So there we go. That gives you an idea of what,

Doug Johnson (05:05):

So you’re like a liberal Orthodox,

Leon Adato (05:09):

Yes, okay. Orthodox in terms of Judaism, not in terms of perhaps political or even, uh, you know, personal restraint, concept.

Stephen Foskett (05:21):

Hush up there you Non dancing evangelic.

Leon Adato (05:23):

Oh you want to see non dancing. You should come to my side, then it’s, you know, then you can’t leave no mixed dancing, like, forget about it. It’s the whole thing. All right. So tech in religion, which is what this series is called focuses on, uh, finding technology that helps deepen strengthen, or, uh, clarify our connection to our religious point of view or religious experience. So, um, Doug, I’m going to pick on you first. Do you have some technology that really helps you out with your being an evangelical, but not one of those kinds?

Doug Johnson (05:57):

Yes. Well, I mean, I’ve got technology that helps me everywhere and it’s, it enables, it enables my, uh, religious practice because, um, I am multiple things. Uh, some of them good, but most of them are like, I’m ADD, or I’m now AAD. Right. I was ADHD. And then I was, I thought I was ADD, and then I found out I was ADD HD, and then now it’s AED. I’m an adult. I,

Leon Adato (06:25):

Attention defecate.

Doug Johnson (06:25):

They, they keep on changing the letters on me. So I am whatever the current one is. All right. But, uh, and I’m also have SAD, which is a seasonal affective disorder, except now it’s called depression seasonal type or who cares? I mean, you know, it’s just so some, between the months of October and March, my brain stops. Not completely. Um, but it just becomes absolutely worthless. In fact, we have quite an indicator. Um, I was late to this meeting because I forgot. It was on my calendar. It was everywhere. Things were beeping. I’m sure phones were going off. And, you know, I just completely forgot. So everything that I have is basically, uh, designed around to keep my brain on target when I’m doing stuff.

Leon Adato (07:12):


Doug Johnson (07:12):

So, uh, the first one is Trello. Trello is basically used for managing projects, right?

Leon Adato (07:19):

I was going to say, when you put it on the list, when we were prepping for this and you put on the list, I’m like Trello, helpful for being an evangelical Christian. These are, I wasn’t going to make that connection, but I want to hear this.

Doug Johnson (07:30):

The question is, so what does your practice involve? I mean, do you do stuff for your church. Or your synagogue or whatever, do you do projects? Do you work with people on things?

Leon Adato (07:43):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (07:43):

Imagine that you were stuck with me on your committee, and.

Leon Adato (07:48):

[snorts with laughter]

Doug Johnson (07:49):

Exactly there you are. Now you understand, keep in mind that people who are, because I’ve been a Christian for so long. And because I actually do read the Bible and know the stuff that’s in there, people always think, gee, this guy’s really devout, which I am, but they don’t also realize how flaky I am. And so by the time they find out how flaky I am, it’s too late.

Leon Adato (08:12):

Its to late.

Doug Johnson (08:12):

They’ve already brought me in. They have me on committees. They have me doing stuff. One church made me a deacon. I mean, come on, think about this. So the reality is I have to go ahead and find ways so that I can get the things done that need to be done. The fact is there’s a lot of people in Christianity who are wound just a little bit a little bit tightly. Just a smidge.

Leon Adato (08:40):

I even, I might have noticed that occasionally, but I wasn’t going to attributed to Christianity particularly, but ok.

Doug Johnson (08:46):

Well I don’t know. It’s the group that I’m used to working within the, and I will tell you that the ones who actually make it into any kind of leadership position, except for ones who are attributed to be devout, but they don’t know in flaky yet, anybody that’s actually really, they’re pretty tightly wound because they’re, you know, in, in Christianity, it’s really easy to offend people. And so the people who really make it are really good at not offending people. Now imagine that you go ahead and give Doug something to do, and he totally freaking forgets or the waits till the last minute. And there’s like 15 people or, you know, anything at all. So Trello allows me to go ahead and keep track of what it is that I have to get done and what I’ve promised. And I actually, it’s easy enough to use that. I can get other people on the committee, to go ahead and assign me tasks in Trello, and now it’s there and I can track it because if they just ask me to do it, I’ll agree to it. And if I can write it down right then fine. But the odds are by the time I get to my car, I’ve already forgotten,

Leon Adato (09:47):

Right? By the time you turned around and said, hello to the next person, you’ve forgotten.

Doug Johnson (09:50):

pretty much. Well, I mean, you know, w when we were all in churches all the time, you know, we were greeting, meeting and greeting each other, and I could have had a great conversation with you. And by the time I’ve talked to the third person after you it’s gone. So that’s why that’s how Trello helps. I mean, I use it a lot of different places, but it does help me. It keeps me from getting kicked out of the church. So I may get kicked out for another reason, but at least I don’t get kicked out off the committee for not doing my work.

Leon Adato (10:18):

Got it. Okay. What’s up next?

Doug Johnson (10:21):

Um, the next one is not actually an app. It’s, uh, it’s called the Pomodoro technique. Uh, Pomodoro is Italian for a tomato and some Italian guy, had a timer, a little spinner timer thing that looked like a tomato.

Leon Adato (10:40):


Doug Johnson (10:40):

And what he did was he came up with this tea, He would spin it to 25 minutes. He would work, heads down for 25 minutes. When the timer went up, he would get up and walk away for 5 minutes and then he’d come back and he’d spin it for 25 minutes and he would heads down and you would do one thing for that 25 minutes. And then you’d get up, uh, another tech in another way, you can do it like 45 and then 15 or 50 minutes and 10, you know, but it’s a combination of block of time with a timer and then a break. Um, now again, back to ADD, SAD, all those kinds of wonderful things. Now, the only way I get anything done, the only way I can go ahead and do stuff is to say, ah, for the next 25 minutes, I’m going to read scripture. And I’ll sit down and do it. Whereas if I sit down to go and read and I’m like 3 verses, and I go, Oh, that’s a good idea. I’m going to go look at this other thing. And I look up something on that and look, and next thing you know, I’ve read 3 verses it’s 3 hours later. Um, and You know,

Leon Adato (11:43):

You’ve rea 42 Wikipedia, half of 42 Wikipedia articles,

Doug Johnson (11:46):

OH exactly,

Leon Adato (11:46):

you’ve built three websites partially,

Doug Johnson (11:51):

Exactly, but I haven’t finished,

Leon Adato (11:51):

And you’re holding a chicken in one hand and an Apple in the other.

Doug Johnson (11:55):

Exactly. But I have not yet finished my scripture reading for the day. So.

Leon Adato (12:00):

Of course not.

Doug Johnson (12:01):

The Pomodoro technique is it helps me at work, but it also helps me with my spiritual life, because I can go ahead and say for this next 25 minutes, I’m reading scripture. Or for this next 25 minutes, I’m praying or what, and it’s limited, it’s time, limited time boxed. When that thing goes off, I can get, stand up and walk away from it and say, that’s it. I did it good. It’s just like, it’s like a spiritual discipline except, you know, not exactly.

Leon Adato (12:29):

I always wonder I mean especially.

Stephen Foskett (12:30):

Except its the exact opposite of being disciplined.

Doug Johnson (12:32):

Exactly. It’s spiritual discipline for those of us who have no discipline whatsoever.

Leon Adato (12:37):

Right. And I just want to imagine God’s side of that conversation, right? Like, you know, you’re praying for 25 minutes and, you know, the, the, the beginning starts off real slow and real careful. And at the end it’s like, and then I went, Oh, I’m done. So wait. and its like.

Doug Johnson (12:56):

Well, . And again, it depends on how you pray. A lot of my prayer is like a couple of things, and then I just shut up because really.

Leon Adato (13:02):

Got it.

Doug Johnson (13:03):

I think, God talks to God talks to me a lot more than I, he knows what’s going on with me. And he knows it’s really messed up. I mean, that’s just the way that’s, he knows that. So, uh, so I find it it’s a lot, a lot easier for me to just shut up and listen for God. And I always know it’s God talking, because he always asks me to do stuff that I would never come up.

Leon Adato (13:26):

[snorts in laughter]

Doug Johnson (13:26):

with in a million years on my own. I, once I once wrote a children’s Christmas play, that had, 30 kids from the church in it, that I directed, and acted in, because I knew that it would get the parents into church one day in the year that they would never have come in otherwise. Now, you know, that’s from God. Cause she, Leon knows I’m not a, I’m not a great fan of kids. Uh, you know, it’s just like it,

Leon Adato (13:55):

You’re really a people person and you’re not a small people person.

Doug Johnson (13:58):

No! And they love me for God only knows why, but it just, you know, and so there it is. I’m just, so that was God.

Leon Adato (14:07):

Got it. Okay. One more. We got one more, you only get three on these shows.

Doug Johnson (14:11):

Ok. One more, this one, this one’s easy and this one’s relatively new to me. I came across it. It’s called habitbull as habit. The word habit and bull as in a cow except.

Leon Adato (14:21):


Doug Johnson (14:21):

The male kind. Yes. Moo

Stephen Foskett (14:23):

I was thinking it was where the nuns put their hats.

Doug Johnson (14:25):

Um, could be.

Leon Adato (14:28):

You know, I haven’t been on a farm a whole lot, but don’t mess with the bull is,

Doug Johnson (14:33):

There’s all kinds of ways we could.

Stephen Foskett (14:34):

I though it was bowl like a, like a cylinder, like a half of a sphere.

Doug Johnson (14:37):

Oh yes, no, no. In this case.

Leon Adato (14:38):

No, no, this is.

Doug Johnson (14:38):

it’s a, yeah. The logo is, you know, like hook ’em horns, Texas, uh, university of Texas stuff, whatever. But.

Leon Adato (14:46):

Got it.

Doug Johnson (14:46):

Basically it’s, it, uh, allows you to go ahead and habits that you want to do to go ahead and give it, uh, a frequency, a cadence, like I want every day I want to do this or 3 times a week. I want to do this. Or in the next month, I need to do this once a week. So you can lay out what they are, and it gives you reminders. And as you Mark them off, it gives you a string which actually builds that. Um, what are they, you, you, you you’ve put a string that string, that string of successes together. And after a while, you don’t want to break the streak. So.

Leon Adato (15:26):

Got it.

Doug Johnson (15:26):

The beginning of this side, the first time I used it, I used at the beginning of the summer, when we were all locked down, I decided I should really start getting, and I got to like 80 or 90 days of walking, 8,000 steps every day. And I can tell you that since I’m not doing that at the moment, um, I managed to get 8,000 steps at least twice a month. Um, so.

Leon Adato (15:48):


Doug Johnson (15:48):

When I use it, and so basically what I, I had a scripture reading down my daily scripture, reading on habit bulletin, and that helps you maintain a streak. So it’s really good. You, you get like 3 or 4 habits, uh, for the free version. And for, I forget however much it, you can get unlimited habits that you want to track, but

Stephen Foskett (16:10):

I just even thinking of the nuns, I’m sorry.

Leon Adato (16:13):

I was going to say, like you could see it on his face that he’s just thinking of the nuns unlimited habits, it’s like a panty raid but at a monastary.

Stephen Foskett (16:19):

how many can you put on it once, right?

Doug Johnson (16:22):

And now we know why the Catholic church, doesn’t like the rest of us.

Leon Adato (16:28):

There’s. I still.

Doug Johnson (16:29):

Oh, well, in any case, I’m going to let all of that just go because I am much more kind than that. Yeah. Okay. Bye none of us, none of us bye that, so, okay. But those are my three.

Leon Adato (16:43):

Great. And, and for the last one though, I, I like the idea of GAM, gamifying, your spiritual experience that, you know, I mean, we really are, you know, little monkeys sometimes as far as that goes and, you know, just feed the mice and the maze or whatever metaphor we want to use, you know, feed you know, you get that one little burst of endorphin and it just causes you to want to do more. And why not make your, your religious experience.

Doug Johnson (17:09):

Yeah, exactly. Well, and that’s why Trello works for me because I get to check out, when my wife figured out that I like scratching things off lists. I mean, trust me, I get lists of things that she doesn’t ask me to do anything more. She puts out on a list because she knows I’ll check it off. So I’m a, I am for better or worse. I am really, I’m not a good human being, but I’m a heck of a monkey. So just so I use my tools to make me a better human being.

Doug Johnson (17:40):

There We go. All right. So

Stephen Foskett (17:43):

Were all just tech of a monkey, I think.

Leon Adato (17:44):

Yeah. Well, we’re all, we’re all wonderful monkeys. The question is whether we can make into better human beings as Well. Um, I like it. All right, Steven. Uh, I.

Stephen Foskett (17:54):


Leon Adato (17:54):

Realized that that was a very, bizarre conversation to follow up on, but, uh, you’ve given us some thoughts. So I’m curious about the tech that you use.

Stephen Foskett (18:04):

All right. Well, I’m gonna, um, first apologize, uh, for, um, uh, you know, I’m going to defend Facebook, so I’m sorry. Um, I’m sorry, those of you who find that a sin, um, frankly, it’s terrible. We all know it’s terrible, but it’s also kind of not terrible. Um, because truly, I think that essentially we all need to find ways of connecting to each other and frankly, it’s where everyone is. And it’s not only that, but if you squint and turn your head and mute enough, you can actually see some positives to it too. And, um, you know, for example, um, you know, here in, in my town, um, there’s a terrible town Facebook group, and everyone has one of those. Um, there’s also a group where people go out in nature and take pictures of owls and trees and ponds, and talk about how they’ve discovered something lovely and wonderful in the town. And somehow that group has not yet been polluted by red and blue comments, and it’s just, you know, wonderful. And it’s the same thing, you know what I mean? You know, connecting with your family, connecting, you know, maybe some people in your family, you kind of don’t want to connect with any more, but you know what, it’s important that we know who’s graduating. It’s important that we know who’s sick and who’s better. And it’s important that we keep connected and frankly, whatever makes that happen is I think a pretty good tool. And, uh, again, I, I don’t want to say anything nice about them, but this is what makes it happen for me, frankly. This is the tool that we’re using to keep connected with our families and, you know, in the pandemic, I think that that’s doubly important. Um, people who have distributed families like me, that’s incredibly important. Um, and so, yeah, um,

Leon Adato (20:09):


Stephen Foskett (20:09):

It’s a great, it’s a great thing.

Leon Adato (20:11):

I, you know, I can see the treatise now, you know, in defense of Facebook.

Doug Johnson (20:18):

I was away from it for a year and I came back and, you know, it’s, it’s not terrible. Um, I it’s, I’m learning how to not follow people. That really are just over the side, but you’re, I mean, there’s a lot of good this, there, I, in fact, I miss Twitter because there were so many people that I enjoyed following, but everybody’s just so wacko for a while there during the, during the Trump years. I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m hoping that it’s just gonna chill some here.

Leon Adato (20:46):

Well And there’s there. Just to add one quick comment, which is, um, a conversation that we were having a friend of mine. And I said, you know, he, he said, this is it. I can’t deal with so-and-so anymore. I’m going to have to cut them out of my life. And, uh, you know, they’re saying all this stuff on Facebook, it happened to be that I just can’t, I can’t deal with it. I can’t fall. And into this conversation, my rabbi, who by the way, is on Twitter, which is a whole other conversation, but okay. And he said, you know, you don’t actually have to listen to them. You could actually choose to mute. And again, this is by rabbi talking to me, the tech, you know, technology person and my friend who is a programmer and saying, you know, they have these options so that you never see anything that they say at all. And that way you wouldn’t have to hear the horrible things that I’m not saying. They don’t say horrible things. I’m just saying this doesn’t have to impact your relationship with them in the sense of like, if the things they say bother you don’t read them because they don’t say them in public.

Stephen Foskett (21:54):

Yeah. And honestly, um, that, you know, I’m going to say, I’m going to, I’m going to change, changing up my, my list here. Um, I have to say that I’ve learned more about people and I’ve gained a better appreciation from people from dealing with people on social media, generally, um, Twitter. Um, so here’s the thing, the other month I said something off the cuff that came off as incredibly stupid. And insensitive. Um, and it got retweeted a lot, like a lot, like I got probably 500 hateful comments, um, from people. And it was enough that I actually just got another spate of them last week because it’s one of those famous things that keeps coming back, look at this stupid guy and this stupid thing he said, but, you know, what’s funny. Um, and I think that this is, you know, perfectly fitting for, um, uh, context like this. The most remarkable thing is that I took the advice of, well, of all of the people that I admire and all the philosophers that I respect. And basically the answer was, you know, you did the thing, you know, recognize the humanity in these people. They’re angry at you because of the way that they’re perceiving you and, and, and what can you do with that? And so, instead of, um, and I haven’t, I haven’t talked about this really much. Um, so this is kind of a nice opportunity for me instead of, um, like yelling at people or telling them, you know, they’re stupid or muting everybody or deleting it. Um, instead, you know, what I decided to do, I decided to write a response to every one of the people that contacted me, except if they swore at me, if they, if they swore at me or called me a Nazi or something, I was just like, okay, I don’t need to engage. This person is just angry.

Leon Adato (24:07):

Uh huh.

Stephen Foskett (24:07):

And engaging with somebody who’s just angry is probably not good. But if they said something like you’re so insensitive, what about women? What about the disabled? You know, I replied and I said, you know what? I can see how you could get that from what I wrote. And I don’t feel good about that. And that’s not a reflection of who I am, and I’m sorry that you feel this way. And I’m sorry that I said something that, and you know, what happened next? What happened next was I got hundreds of responses back saying, wow, that was really nice. I really appreciated this response. You know, um, I’m still talking to some of these people, you know, six months later who basically introduced themselves by saying you’re an idiot and you’re insensitive. And I have to say, I’ve actually learned a lot more about people and I’ve learned how to work with people and how to, um, and I’ve learned more respect and humility from a bad day on Twitter than I did in a lot of Sunday school.

Doug Johnson (25:15):


Leon Adato (25:15):


Doug Johnson (25:15):

Yes, I totally get that. I mean, it, it’s hard to go ahead and, not, not strike back. And so that, that on your part is admirable. And, you know, being able to go ahead and essentially own what you own, what you did and be willing to engage. And I try and engage. I offend people all the time, not intentionally there’s people who do it intentionally.

Leon Adato (25:42):

I can vouch for the truth of this.

Doug Johnson (25:43):

It is right. When people come to me and say, I’m an idiot and I’m insensitive. I go, boy, you’re, I could, I, you are so right. And I, upon, you know, what, what did, what did I do today? All right. And, and so, and, and, but, you know, again, being willing to own it and apologize for it, if it deserves an apology or to say, Oh, I, you know, I did not even think of it that way. I apologize to, you know, it goes a long way towards connecting with people. Which im not great at.

Stephen Foskett (26:12):

Yeah. And what you find is that, you know, people are really, a lot of people are really hurting and a lot of people are really, um, angry at the situations that they see around them. And they’re kind of ascribing things to these situations. And by basically opening up and listening, um, you know, you can get a lot more out of it. And a lot of like real personal growth out of it. Um, and really that kind of fits with my, you know, my beliefs, you know, I believe that, you know, that people can transcend what they are, and what they, what they seem to be. And if you give them a chance, a lot of the time they will. And like I said, truly, a lot of people are just angry and, you know, sometimes, you know, you got to just let that burn out a little bit. So anyway, so I have definitely learned a lot more about that. Um, you know, and frankly, I feel like, you know, the other things that I was going to talk about, um, you know, unlike Doug, I absolutely do not have the Bible memorized. Um, but I do have blue light, uh, blue letter Bible on my iPad. And that lets me look stuff up and cross reference it when I need to. Um,

Leon Adato (27:29):

I think that overall the, you know, if there’s one thing about just devices in our pocket at all, it’s having access to a text that I am comfortable with, as opposed to having to arrive at a building and pull a book off the shelf that I might not be as familiar with, or know where to find things or whatever, and in a language that I’m comfortable with in a font size that I’m comfortable with. Like, I think that just the single most effective use of technology is personalizing the text in ways that are very personal to us. I think that that makes a huge difference. So yeah, I can see that.

Stephen Foskett (28:08):

Yep. And the amazing power of computers to cross-reference.

Leon Adato (28:12):

Uh huh.

Stephen Foskett (28:12):

Is just, um, and then search is just incredible. I mean, to think that you can say, um, you know, I want to find like, like, like, you know, Doug, you’re writing a sermon and you’re like, I need to find that quote where Jesus says this one thing, and to be able to just like, like click the little magnifying glass and you’re there, you know, I mean,

Doug Johnson (28:34):

And you find out it was actually Joshua who said it.

Stephen Foskett (28:37):

Yeah. Jesus didn’t say a lot of the things people think he said.

Leon Adato (28:42):


Stephen Foskett (28:42):

Um, yeah. And then I guess the final thing that I’ll give a pitch to is, um, especially in the pandemic, I think a lot of people are in need of some personal connection and, and someone to talk to and someone to talk back. And yet we can’t really go out. And so I am, I never thought that I would be into audio books, but I got to say, audio books are awesome. And.

Leon Adato (29:07):

Uh huh.

Stephen Foskett (29:07):

Being able to, you know, to sit down and just listen as somebody reads you, their book is, uh, it’s weird and cool. Um, also puts me to sleep, but, um, at least.

Leon Adato (29:23):

But in a good way.

Stephen Foskett (29:23):

it couldn’t go back again.

Leon Adato (29:25):

In a good, but in a good way, I mean, you know, it is, it is that comforting voice of somebody who has basically promised no, no, I’m going to read to you until you’re calm. I’m going to keep giving you some ideas that will distract you from the circle, spinning of your brain. And I’ll be there.

Stephen Foskett (29:42):

And there’s something wonderfully soothing about somebody reading to you.

Leon Adato (29:46):

Uh huh.

Stephen Foskett (29:46):

I think it’s a, it’s like one of those things, like, you know, we’re, you know, from when we’re children, like, we love to have somebody reading to us. And especially now, like I said, with the pandemic, you know, you’re, you, you know, everybody’s trapped inside, you can at least sit and you can listen to somebody and you can kind of escape from this, into your head in a good way.

Leon Adato (30:05):

Uh huh.

Stephen Foskett (30:05):

And, um, and, and I’m loving that.

Leon Adato (30:09):

So just to, to add on to that one, uh, again, as, as people have been listening are familiar with, but if, if you’re not familiar with Orthodox Judaism, uh, on Shabbat, the Sabbath from Friday night sundown until Saturday Sunday, and if it has an on switch, it’s off limits, that’s the easiest way to say it. So that means that, um, you know, for, for 24, 25 hours playing an audio book, or the television or any of those things is, is not going to work. So what’s happened in our house is that, um, I will read. You know, we’ll, we’ll pick a book. We’ve, we’ve worked our way through the Harry Potter series a couple of times. And I will read with all the voices and that’s what we do and lows during the day. And then at night the same thing, like, you know, my wife is sitting there, her brain is spinning with all the things that have to happen, whatever. And of course your brain is spinning with things that have to happen that you can not do because it’s Shabbat, right? So now you have nowhere to put this and nowhere, nothing to do with this. So what do you do? You know, I sit there and I read, I read until she falls asleep and it’s really, it’s just sort of a delightful and the kids all come trundling to the room. My kids are in their twenties. Okay. Let’s just be honest about this. So they come in and they’ve got their blanket and they lay, you know on the floor or whatever it is and we read and it’s just, You know.

Stephen Foskett (31:31):

That’s about the nicest thing I have heard in months.

Leon Adato (31:36):

Yeah. It’s, it’s fun. And they look forward to it. It’s one more reason to look forward to what a lot of people like, how can 24 hours without anything, how do you do that? I mean, well, in my house, it’s like, is it Shabbat yet? Can’t we have Shabbat now? Like still got two more days to go kid. Come on.

Stephen Foskett (31:53):

Can you do Dumbledore for us please?

Leon Adato (31:56):

[Reading Harry Potter] She may have taken you grudgingly furiously, unwillingly, bitterly, Yet, She still took you. And in doing so, she sealed the charm. I had placed upon you. Your mother’s sacrifice made the bond of blood, the strongest shield I could give you. While you can still call the poll, call home the place where your mother’s blood dwells there, you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed your blood. He shed her blond, but it lives on and you and your, and her sister, her blood became your refuge. So that’s Dumbledore.

Stephen Foskett (32:28):

I hear it. I hear it. I’m really glad that you don’t sound like the Dumbledore in the movies.

Leon Adato (32:32):

No, no, no. John Huston, John Huston is the voice of Gandalf and Dumbledore like that is the wizard voice. Um, that’s just in my head. That’s what he sounds like. Um, so anyway, uh, back to our conversation, back to the topic, uh, audible books certainly are, you know, a calming source so that I can see how that, that would, that would be good. Okay. So tell you what, after, uh, doing my Dumbledore impression, I’m gonna, uh, wrap this up with a couple of recommendations of mine. Uh, just two of them. The first one is something that I mentioned in another episode, And I said that right as Stephen was taking a drink. So now I own the new cube, keyboard because he just spit all over it. Um, yeah, That’s actually a website and it is a calendar that will give you all the different holidays and times and things like that incredibly useful because, uh, the Jewish calendar can be insanely complicated. And that’s something I mentioned in the other episode, but what I wanted to bring out here is that there’s two particular features on that website. First one is after you have created your customized calendar, that shows the things that you want and not the things that you don’t want, you can export that to an Ical format. So it’s not just like you have to go back to that website every time you want something, you can create your own calendar, including things like, you know, people’s the, the anniversary people’s deaths within what’s called a Yartzite, which is very important. You can output that in the Ical format and have that sort of in perpetuity year after year, you can have it built into your calendar. And I find that that’s especially useful because it’s easy to forget that it’s the first night of Hanukkah because it changes from year to year across the regular calendar. The other part is that, and this is very, very, you know, technically religious, there’s an API, there’s an actual restful JSON API. So if you’re building your own application that needs to grab a Hebrew date, or what Torah reading, what Torah portion is that week, or what time sundown is or whatever, or what holidays are coming up, you can actually make a function call to the website, through their API and grab all that information back and use that. And as a technologist who has written a couple of WordPress modules and things like that, it is incredibly helpful because they’ve done the legwork on all the really hair on the knuckles, hard, uh, calendar programming that is so difficult to do. So that’s the first one.

Doug Johnson (35:09):


Leon Adato (35:09):

And, um,

Stephen Foskett (35:10):

I really want to know if you can do a JSON post of why is this night different from any other night.

Leon Adato (35:17):

Uh, and get answers back.

Stephen Foskett (35:19):

Yeah. That I, that would be an API. So subscribed to,

Leon Adato (35:22):

I can, I can.

Doug Johnson (35:23):

That would actually be a get.

Leon Adato (35:26):

Well, hold on. No, no, no, no.

Stephen Foskett (35:27):

No no, That’s something different.

Doug Johnson (35:30):

Unless you’re going to send an unless you’re sending your answer.

Leon Adato (35:33):

No, no, no. You need to do is you’d need to have the URL. And the first variable is which son you are.

Doug Johnson (35:40):


Leon Adato (35:40):

Because that’s going to tell you what the return that’s. So it would be, uh, a, uh, uh, get function.

Doug Johnson (35:47):

Alright, I know what I’m doing this weekend.

Stephen Foskett (35:50):

Yup, bracket quote. sun order colen.

Doug Johnson (35:52):

Right. I have to tell you, I am, I’m grateful for hebcal, because I remember Leon talking to me probably 10, 12 years ago about how we were going to build this thing. And fortunately, they got it built before I had to do it.

Leon Adato (36:07):


Doug Johnson (36:08):

We, we started talking about this and I’m going, Oh my God.

Leon Adato (36:13):

Right? And I don’t know nearly enough to be able to spec that out appropriately either. So no, it, uh,

Doug Johnson (36:19):

It would have been if we’d still be working on it.

Leon Adato (36:22):

Yeah we would. And it would still be a horrible, it would never work Right.

Doug Johnson (36:24):

Exactly. So thank you, HebCal.

Leon Adato (36:27):

Thank you. So, and the last thing I want to bring up is just a website. Um, YeahThat’ No, really. That’s the website. YeahThat’ There are a lot of websites that talk about whether a thing is kosher or not. This is actually a restaurant review website, and the guy who runs the website, um, does a lot of traveling, did a lot of traveling lives in the New York area. And he highlights the, the restaurants that are new and opening and what kind of cuisine they have. And honestly, you know, is it good? Is it run of the mill? Is it no, you really need to skip this place. He really does a good job of keeping up to date so that when I’m in a new city, typically I can rely on that to know what, uh, some of the places like I don’t want to miss, or nah, that’s, you know, I don’t need to pay the cab fare or the, you know, Uber or Lyft ride to get out there it’s not, it’s going to be a hot dog and that’s gonna be the end of it or whatever it is. So that, especially as somebody who travels to conferences and things, it helps me to know when there’s a new place. Like, Oh, I’ve been in Vegas. No, no, no. They have a steakhouse. Now they have a kosher steak house. I would actually give away one of my children and I can name which one for the steak that I have. I fonder memories of the Tomahawk steak I had there than I have of at least one of my kids. Um, it’s a really good kosher steak house, so that, but those are the kinds of things you can get from that. So that’s very helpful unless you’re one of my kids. Um, so that’s, that’s it, that’s, that’s the episode, uh, I’ll quickly go to the lightning round, any final words or things that you want to add. Yeah, Stephen.

Stephen Foskett (38:01):

I actually, I really want to add something from my other world, from the world of watches.

Leon Adato (38:06):

Oh, go ahead.

Stephen Foskett (38:06):

There is a remarkable watchmaker who created a watch, a wristwatch that has the full Muslim calendar built into it. And it, and it actually shows the correct Islamic date using the phases of the moon. And one of the coolest things about mechanical watches that are all the cool things you can do with gears. So just imagine your API that tells us which day or which month it is. Okay. Now, now do that gears.

Leon Adato (38:36):

Uh huh.

Stephen Foskett (38:36):

Um, so if, if you want to look this up, it actually won the, one of the highest awards in watchmaking in 2020, uh, because it is a pretty remarkable achievement.

Leon Adato (38:45):


Stephen Foskett (38:45):

So it’s by a company called Parmigiani, which is not Pomodoro, but it still has some pretty good technique.

Leon Adato (38:51):

So it’s not the tomato, it’s the cheese.

Stephen Foskett (38:53):


Leon Adato (38:54):

That’s great. And we’ll have the links for everything that we talked about in the show notes. Um, okay, great. That’s that’s cool. Doug, any final comments?

Doug Johnson (39:02):

Nope. I like all of the stuff I’ve used, all the stuff that Stephen uses, uh, probably not as effectively as he has, but that’s good. I mean, there’s just a lot of good stuff out there. I was just thinking today, you know, I read through the calendar thing this today in calendar and I realized how much stuff has happened since I was born. Queen Elizabeth became queen Elizabeth about three months before I was born.

Stephen Foskett (39:28):

Did you know that Betty White really is older than sliced bread?

Leon Adato (39:31):

Yes, I saw that.

Stephen Foskett (39:33):

True fact.

Doug Johnson (39:33):

That’s funny. I did not know that

Leon Adato (39:36):

She’s something like 3 or 4 years. 3 or 4 years older then sliced bread. Yeah.

Doug Johnson (39:40):

And that, and that’s the important stuff that we have now. The good thing about having only a part partial brain at least for half of the year is now we’ve got technology that fills in the rest of it. Um, so that I can make it look like I actually deserve to exist on this.

Leon Adato (39:56):

You’re a functioning, functional adult.

Doug Johnson (39:58):

Yeah I get a lot more done now than I used to. And, um, even, even though, uh, my brain is not working at full, I, at least I I’ve got systems and tools set up that sort of prop me up.

Stephen Foskett (40:11):

Well, can I just make a pitch? I think what the, the best, uh, technology tool to help religious people would be, would be a head-up display inside your glasses that tells you who is that person? What was I talking to them about last time? And what’s their mother’s name?

Doug Johnson (40:27):

Yep there you go .

Stephen Foskett (40:27):

I think that would really help.

Doug Johnson (40:28):

Well, as, as soon as, yeah, I was going to say there there’s a new batch of AR glasses that somebody is coming out with. It look a lot better than the, uh, than the ones we’ve had so far. So maybe that maybe that’ll be my next side gig after I make my million billion on this first one.

Leon Adato (40:44):

There we go.

Doug Johnson (40:45):

Or actually 43rd one whenever when I’m on.

Leon Adato (40:47):

Well, uh, I definitely appreciate all the parts of your brain that you decided to bring to the show today.

Doug Johnson (40:53):


Leon Adato (40:53):

And whenever you chose to bring them, look, I, you know, we’re very flexible here and, uh, we’re doing this, uh, you know, for fun. So it ain’t like, uh, you’re gonna, we’re gonna dock your paycheck for it. So, uh, I appreciate you taking the time.

Doug Johnson (41:10):

I appreciate it. Thanks. I love this.

Leon Adato (41:12):


Doug Johnson (41:13):

Human beings. I like that I like, Oh my God.

Stephen Foskett (41:17):

I’m just glad to be able to meet Doug.

Leon Adato (41:21):

Yeah. Well, he’s, you know.

Doug Johnson (41:21):

Oh, you say that now.

Leon Adato (41:23):

Yeah, someday soon. Thanks a lot, guys. Have a good night.

Doug Johnson (41:28):

Bye now.

Roddie (41:29):

Thank you for making time for us this week, to hear more of technically religious visit our website at, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions or connect with us on social media.

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